By Jim Fenton, The Enterprise (Brockton)
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- The Bridgewater State University women's basketball team found an opportune time to present coach Bridgett Casey with a milestone victory.
The fourth-seeded Bears advanced in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament Tuesday night, downing fifth-seeded Salem State, 71-60.
Now in her 20th season, Casey reached the 300-win plateau when BSU kept its season going at the Tinsley Center.
"The student-athletes I recruit I feel are not only great students but great human beings,'' said Casey. "They're great kids, everyone who has played for me, and has a special place in my heart.
"It's been 20 years and it's a lot of hard work from a lot of people from the coaching staff to the players. It's great.''
The win sends BSU (12-14) into the conference semifinal round at top-seeded Westfield State (17-8) Thursday night.
The Bears, who were handed a 21-point loss at home by Salem State two weeks ago when they went 0-for-20 from 3-point range, turned things around in the tourney opener.
After holding a 53-51 lead with 5:41 remaining, BSU went on a 15-2 run to pull away from the Vikings (11-15).
Senior Jennie Lindland had a career-high 25 points on 10-for-15 shooting plus 13 rebounds.
Jennifer Whyte scored 14 of her 17 points in the second half, hitting four 3-pointers after the break, and Rhiana Page had 10 points and seven rebounds.
BSU held a 21-11 lead after one quarter and a 31-25 edge at the half before Salem State got within 45-43 entering the fourth quarter.
The Bears were motivated after being taken apart by Salem State near the end of the regular season.
"They re-watched film and were reminded what we allowed them to do to us,'' said Casey.